Gregory A. Petsko (Chair) is the Gyula and Katica Tauber Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry at Brandeis University, where he also directs the Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center. A Rhodes Scholar, Dr. Petsko was educated at Princeton, where he received his B.A. in chemistry in 1970, and at Oxford, where he received his Ph.D. in molecular biophysics in 1973. After a brief sojourn at the Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique in Paris, he joined the faculty of Wayne State University, moving to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1979. In 1990, he joined the Brandeis faculty. Dr. Petsko is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. He is working on time-resolved X-ray crystallography and related problems, with a particular emphasis on enzymology.
John Golbeck is a professor of biochemistry, biophysics, and chemistry at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State). He earned his B.S. in chemistry from Valparaiso University and his Ph.D. in biological chemistry from Indiana University. After working as an industrial scientist at Martin Marietta Laboratories, he resumed his academic career at the University of Nebraska and moved to Penn State in 1995. Dr. Golbeck’s research interests focus on the assembly, structure, function, and modification of Type I photosynthetic reaction centers. His immediate research interests involve the protein and environmental factors that confer thermodynamic properties such as redox potentials to organic and inorganic cofactors,
and the structural composition of Type I reaction centers from anaerobic photosynthetic bacteria, particularly heliobacteria. His long-term goal lies in engineering biohybrid photosynthetic constructs to produce hydrogen. Dr. Golbeck is a member of the American Biophysical Society and currently serves as the treasurer for the International Society of Photosynthesis Research.
James C. Liao is a Chancellor’s Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Liao received his B.S. degree from National Taiwan University and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. After working as a research scientist at Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, New York, he started his academic career at Texas A&M University in 1990 and moved to UCLA in 1997. He was elected a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2002) and received numerous awards, including the National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award (1992), Merck Award for Metabolic Engineering (2006), Food, Pharmaceutical, and Bioengineering Division Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) (2006), Charles Thom Award of the Society for Industrial Microbiology (2007), Marvin Johnson Award of the American Chemical Society (2009), Alpha Chi Sigma Award of AIChE (2009), James E. Bailey Award of the Society for Biological Engineering (2009), and Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (2010).
Julie Maupin-Furlow is a Research Foundation Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Cell Science at the University of Florida (UF). She is a microbial physiologist and biochemist with research expertise in archaea and the metabolic engineering of microbes for the production of renewable fuels and chemicals. Dr. Maupin-Furlow currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Bacteriology and Saline Systems. She was co-chair of the 2009 Gordon Research Conference titled Archaea: Ecology, Metabolism & Molecular Biology, and is a current member of the UF Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Proteomics Advisory Board, the Florida Center for Renewable Chemicals and Fuels, the Genetics Institute, the Center for Structural Biology, the Mass Spectrometry Users Group, and the Science for Life Howard Hughes Medical Institute Team. Maupin-Furlow has also served as a member of review panels for government agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and as a panel manager for the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Research Initiative Biobased Products and Bioenergy Production Research Program 71.2. She received
her B.S. degree in biology at Oral Roberts University and her Ph.D. in microbiology and cell science at the University of Florida.
Douglas Ray is the associate laboratory director for the Fundamental and Computational Sciences Directorate at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), a role he has fulfilled since May 2006. The Directorate serves as the primary steward for research supported by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and the National Institutes of Health. As associate laboratory director, Dr. Ray directs more than 700 staff members in four research divisions: Atmospheric Sciences and Global Climate Change, Biological Sciences, Chemical and Materials Science, and Computational Sciences and Mathematics. Under his leadership, the divisions focus on important scientific problems with national implications as the key to advancing the frontiers of science. Dr. Ray has previously served as the interim deputy director for science and technology at PNNL where he was responsible for guiding the laboratory’s overall capability development strategies, defining and advancing the laboratory’s science and technology portfolio, coordinating its scientific discretionary investments, and integrating the laboratory’s science and technology base to deliver essential scientific capability and accomplishments to advance the Department of Energy’s missions. Dr. Ray earned a B.S. degree in physics from Kalamazoo College and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, American Physical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Chemical Sciences Roundtable of the National Academy of Sciences, and the International Energy Agency’s Experts Group on Science for Energy.
Leslie Dutton is currently a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania; chair, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics (1994-2008); director, Johnson Foundation for Molecular Biophysics; and a Fellow of the Royal Society. Dr. Dutton completed his B.S. in chemistry (honors) at the University of Wales (1963), and his Ph.D. at the University of Wales (1967). The Dutton lab is interested in determining factors governing electron tunneling through natural proteins engaged in electron transfer, energy conversion, signaling, regulation, and enzyme redox catalysis. He is also involved in de novo design and synthesis of proteins engineered to perform natural functions such as electron transfer, proton translocation, charge-driven conformational changes, and redox catalysis in structured highly simplified settings.
Penelope Boston is director of the Cave and Karst Studies Program and associate professor in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, in Socorro. Dr. Boston is also associate director of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Her research areas include geomicrobiology and astrobiology in extreme environments (some of the world’s most chemically and thermally extreme caves, hot and cold deserts, high latitudes and altitudes); human life support issues in space and planetary environments; and use of robotics to assist exploration and science in extreme Earth and extraterrestrial environments. Dr. Boston is author of over 130 technical and popular publications, editor of four volumes, and author of two upcoming popular books. Her work has been featured in over 100 print and broadcast media outlets over the past dozen years. She is a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Institute for Advanced Concepts Fellow, and recently won the 2010 Lifetime Achievement in Science Award from the National Speleological Society. She is a past president of the Association of Mars Explorers (2006-2008). She holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Colorado, Boulder, an Advanced Study Program Fellowship at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and a National Research Council postdoctoral fellowship at NASA Langley Research Center.
Steven A. Benner is a distinguished fellow at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution (FFAME). Dr. Benner’s research interests include chemical genetics, synthetic biology, paleogenetics, astrobiology, systems biology, and the connection of natural history to the physical sciences. His research group at FFAME initiated synthetic biology as a field and was the first to synthesize a gene for an enzyme and use organic synthesis to prepare the first artificial genetic systems. Dr. Benner’s research has led to promising drug development leads through the invention of dynamic combinatorial chemistry, which combines ideas from different areas of chemistry and biology to discover small-molecule therapeutic leads. He also established paleomolecular biology, where researchers resurrect ancestral proteins from extinct organisms for study in the laboratory. Dr. Benner was a National Science Foundation graduate fellow, a Sloan Foundation fellow, recipient of the Nola Summer Award, Anniversary Prize of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies, and Sigma Xi Senior Faculty Award. He has also sat on numerous Space Studies Board committees, such as the Committee on the Astrophysical Context of Life, and the Committee on the Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Science. Dr. Benner received his B.S. and M.S. in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University, and his Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University.
Janos Lanyi attended Stanford (B.S. in 1959) and Harvard (Ph.D. in 1963), followed by postdoctoral training at Stanford (1963-1965, with Joshua Lederberg). Dr. Lanyi’s professional experience includes research scientist at NASA-Ames Research Center (1965-1979), visiting scientist under the Alexander von Humbolt Foundation Program for Senior Scientists (1979-1980, with Dieter Oesterhelt), professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of California, Irvine (1980-current), department chair (1995-2005), and the Peter Curran Memorial Lecture (Yale, 2001) and Ada Doisy Lectureship (University of Illinois, 2002). Lanyi’s peer-reviewed publications, reviews, and book chapters number 300.
Rudolf K. Thauer is a biologist and a retired professor of microbiology who heads the Emeritus group at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg, Germany. Professor Thauer taught in the faculty of biology at the Philipps University in Marburg for about 15 years and is known primarily for his work on the biochemistry of methanogens. He received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in 1986, among numerous other honors including honorary doctorates from ETH Zurich, the University of Waterloo, and the University of Freiberg. In 1991, he became founding director of the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg. A novel genus of betaproteobacteria was named Thauera in his honor.
Marian Plotkin is a research fellow at the University of Singapore, Department of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Initiative, where his current research employs the optimization of cardiac cell therapy using injectable, resorbable, biocompatible materials. Dr. Plotkin received his B.S. in biomedicine from Tel Hai College (Israel), his M.S. in physiology from Tel Aviv University (Israel), and his doctorate in physiology from Tel Aviv University, where he led a joint project between Israeli and UK researchers that focused on the biophysical characterization of the yellow stripes in the oriental hornet cuticle, particularly concentrating on the special properties that allow the hornet to both absorb and then convert solar energy into activity. Dr. Plotkin’s future research interests include the biomimicry of insect exoskeleton, oriental hornet silk and exoskeleton, and the biomimetic hydrogels for tissue engineering.
Kenneth Nealson received his B.S. degree in biochemistry (1965), and his Ph.D. in microbiology (1969), both from the University of Chicago. Dr. Nealson did postdoctoral work at Harvard University for 3 years. He then took a position at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (University of California, San Diego), where he remained for 12 years, being promoted to professor of oceanography. During this time he studied aspects of marine
bioluminescence, particularly the physiology and ecology of luminous bacteria and the organisms with which they are associated as symbionts. During this time, he elucidated the mechanism of signaling among bacteria, subsequently called quorum sensing. In 1980, utilizing a Guggenheim Fellowship for sabbatical leave, Dr. Nealson shifted his area of work to environmental microbiology and biogeochemistry, with a focus on the interactions between microbes and metals. In 1985, he took a position as the Shaw Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Great Lakes Studies, where he continued his studies of geobiology, with a focus on metals and microbes. This work has taken him to oceans, fjords, the Black Sea, the North American Great Lakes, and Lake Baikal, Russia. During the decade of the 1980s he was involved with the isolation and characterization of iron- and manganese-reducing microbes and elucidation of mechanism of extracellular electron transport. In 1997, Nealson moved to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he directed the astrobiology group, set up the Center for Life Detection, and was program scientist for the Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission. In 2001, with the postponement of MSR, he moved to the University of Southern California, where he helped to establish the program in geobiology, and where he now resides as the Wrigley Professor of Environmental Sciences. Dr. Nealson’s present work involves the study of biogeochemical processes in ultra-basic (i.e., pH . 11.5) environments, and extracellular electron transport as it relates to the cycling of iron and manganese oxides, as well as other insoluble components in sediments and other anoxic environments, and to the use of such bacteria both for bioremediation of toxic wastes, and for energy production in biofuel cells. Dr. Nealson is a member of the American Academy of Microbiology, serves on two National Research Council panels and three scientific advisory boards, and does extensive reviewing of proposals and programs.
Felisa Wolfe-Simon is currently a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Astrobiology Research Fellow. Her interests broadly cover the intersection between biology and geology with a focus on astrobiology and the study of life in a planetary context. As an active member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, Dr. Wolfe-Simon’s research seeks to address geologically informed hypotheses to unravel the biogeochemical co-evolution of life and Earth. She applies tools from molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology. Specifically, her work has addressed the evolution of metal-based enzymes and their role in globally relevant processes such as photosynthesis. Building on these ideas, she has developed an interest in using “what we do know” about biological processes to help uncover “what we don’t know” and promote approaches to search for and think about alternative biochemistries on Earth. She obtained her
dual undergraduate degrees in biology (B.A.) and music performance (B.M.) at Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music and went on to earn her Ph.D. in oceanography at Rutgers University. She pursued postdoctoral work as a National Science Foundation Fellow in Biology at Arizona State and Harvard Universities.
Nadrian C. Seeman was born in Chicago in 1945. After earning a B.S. in biochemistry from the University of Chicago, he received his Ph.D. in biological crystallography from the University of Pittsburgh in 1970. His postdoctoral training, at Columbia and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, emphasized nucleic acid crystallography. He obtained his first independent position at the State University of New York at Albany, where his frustrations with the macromolecular crystallization experiment led him to the campus pub one day in the fall of 1980. There, he realized that the similarity between 6-arm DNA branched junctions and the flying fish in the periodic array of Escher’s “Depth” might lead to a rational approach to the organization of matter on the nanometer scale, particularly crystallization. Since that day, he has been trying to implement this approach and its spinoffs such as nanorobotics and the organization of nanoelectronics. He has worked at New York University since 1988. When told in the mid-1980s that he was doing nanotechnology, his response was similar to that of M. Jourdain, the title character of Moliere’s Bourgeois Gentilehomme, who was delighted to discover that he had been speaking prose all his life. He has published over 250 papers, and has won the Sidhu Award, the Feynman Prize, the Emerging Technologies Award, the Tulip Award in DNA Computing, the World Technology Network Award in Biotechnology, the NYACS Nichols Medal, the SCC Frontiers of Science Award, and the Kavli Prize in Nanoscience.
Thomas Moore is a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Arizona State University (ASU) and director of the Center for Bioenergy and Photosynthesis at ASU. Professor Moore worked under the direction of Professor Pill-Soon Song for the Ph.D. degree from Texas Tech University. He served as president of the American Society for Photobiology in 2004 and received the Senior Research Award from the society in 2001. Over the period of 2005-2007, Professor Moore was awarded a Chaire Internationale de Recherche Blaise Pascal, Région d’Ile de France. He teaches undergraduate- and graduate-level biochemistry at ASU and lectures on bioenergetics, energy, and sustainability at the CEA Saclay and Universitè de Paris Sud, Orsay. He has been awarded a visiting professorship at Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, for the summers of 2010 and 2011. He
has served on several Department of Energy Basic Research Needs Workshops including the Basic Energy Sciences Grand Challenges Committee which produced Directing Matter and Energy: Five Challenges for Science and the Imagination, outlining research priorities for the foreseeable future. Professor Moore and his long-time colleagues, Professors Ana Moore and Devens Gust, collaborate on research in artificial photosynthesis, which is aimed at providing a deeper understanding of natural photosynthesis and the design, synthesis, and assembly of bioinspired constructs capable of sustainable energy production and conversion for human use.
R. David Britt is a chemistry professor at the University of California, Davis, whose research uses advanced electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) techniques to probe structures and mechanisms of enzymes containing paramagnetic metal centers and/or radical intermediates. He received his Ph.D. in physics at the University of California, Berkeley (1988), working with Melvin P. Klein. A major focus of the Britt lab dates back to his graduate work, using pulsed EPR to study the manganese-containing oxygen evolving complex of Photosystem II. Other energy-relevant metalloenzymes under current study with EPR include ACS/ CODH, nitrogenase, and hydrogenase. The Britt lab is also working to understand the chemistry of various water splitting synthetic catalysts, including the Kanan/Nocera self-assembling Co catalyst.
Judy Wall received her B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Her Ph.D. is from Duke University in biochemistry with a specialization in genetics. Her dissertation explored the mechanism of generalized transduction by bacteriophage P1 in Escherichia coli. She then examined genetic exchange and nitrogen fixation in the phototroph Rhodobacter capsulatus at Indiana University during her postdoctoral training with Professor Howard Gest. In 1978, she joined the faculty of the Biochemistry Department at the University of Missouri, Columbia, where she resides today, and turned her attention to the genetics of the sulfate-reducing bacteria. She has served as a regular panel member for grant evaluations at the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Energy (DOE) and as an ad hoc reviewer on numerous panels. She is an American Association for the Advancement of Science fellow and a fellow of the American Academy for Microbiology where she has served two terms on the Board of Governors. She was editor and then editor-in-chief of the scholarly journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. She has been generously funded through various programs of DOE for the past 23 years and was appointed to the DOE Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Board in 2009. She has mentored 17 graduate students, M.S. and Ph.D., 22 postdoctoral fellows, and numerous under-
graduate students. In 2004, she received the Sigma Xi award for excellence in graduate research mentoring and, in 2008, received the Undergraduate Research Mentor Award. Her research area focuses on the genetics of the sulfate-reducing bacteria as a tool to explore energy generation in this anaerobe as it affects bioremediation capacities.
Robert Kelly received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Virginia and, following 2 years at DuPont’s Marshall Laboratory in Philadelphia, his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University. He was formerly on the faculty in Chemical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and is now in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University, where he also directs the university’s Biotechnology Program. His research program focuses on the biology and biotechnology of extremophilic microorganisms.
Janet Westpheling is an associate professor of genetics at the University of Georgia. She received her B.S. in microbiology from Purdue University (1973) and her Ph.D. in genetics from John Innes Centre, Norwich, England (1980). Dr. Westpheling’s research interests include the rate-limiting step in the conversion of cellulosic material from crop plants such as poplar or switchgrass to simple sugars used for fermentation to ethanol in the recalcitrance of complex substrates, such as cellulose, xylan, and lignin, to simple mono- and polysaccharides. The focus of her research is to use functional and structural genomics-based methods, in conjunction with classical genetics and biochemical approaches, to identify novel biocatalytic (purified enzymes) and metabolic strategies (using whole cells) for bioenergy conversion. This research is part of a long-term collaboration between her lab and the laboratory of M. W. W. Adams in the Department of Biochemistry, focusing on the biotechnological potential of hyperthermophilic microorganisms and enzymes. Dr. Westpheling and her colleagues have developed genetic tools for manipulation of Pyrococcus furiosus, a hyperthermophilic fermentative anaerobic archaean capable of biomass conversion at or above temperatures of 100°C, and Anaerocellum thermophilum, a thermophilic, anaerobic Gram-positive bacterium, unique in its ability to efficiently utilize untreated cellulosic biomass. This work fits into the larger intellectual context of using classical (high-temperature microbial bioprocessing, large-scale protein purification) and modern (structural genomics, bioinformatics, transcriptional response analysis, gene replacement/mutational analysis) approaches to study extremophile biology and biotechnology as this relates to bioenergy conversion.
This page intentionally left blank.